The authors of a recent paper focusing on the success of the viral campaign "Kony 2012" say their findings "suggest that when a complex adverse situation is reduced to the actions of a clear enemy, this inspires moral outrage against the enemy. However, if the complexity of the situation becomes clearer, the enemy inspires less moral outrage and determination to act." Moral outrage, then, can fuel the determination to act, interventionism, and both moral outrage and the desire for interventionism seem harder to stir up when more information is available.
This ought to be a good example of why more information, and rational thinking, are so important in creating a prudent, non-interventionist, foreign policy. Unless, of course, you consider relieving moral outrage to be America's burden. Slate social-media headlined an article on the study as "The Depressing Reason Why Hashtag Campaigns Like #StopKony And #BringBackOutGirls Take Off." Slate's Joshua Keating wrote that the paper "suggests—depressingly—that the oversimplification of the message in the original video was exactly the reason it was successful," continuing:
Defenders of campaigns like these often say that they can be gateways toward greater understanding of complex global issues. Viewers first get hooked on the moral outrage, then learn more about the underlying conditions that produced the crisis, becoming better-informed global citizens.
This paper suggests that unfortunately the opposite is true. Viewers get interested when they hear about evil monsters like the LRA or Boko Haram that just need to be stopped. When they learn more about the issue and find out that, lo and behold, the world is a very complicated place, that killing the monster won't be so easy and that there are larger issues in play beyond the monster itself, they lose interest.
I don't see how it's unfortunate that "better-informed global citizens" are still coming to understand "the world is a very complicated place." If they choose not to be interested in intervention, they remove from pro-interventionists a bank of emotionalism and force them instead to argue their often naïve and basic foreign policy ideas within the context of a "complicated" world.